NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Apple (AAPL) - Get Report are slightly lower around $122.37 in pre-market trading as the company plans to introduce a trade-in program for iPhones in China, sources told Bloomberg, after a similar program bolstered sales in the U.S.
Consumers will reportedly be able to bring in older iPhones to Apple stores in China for credit towards the company's new products as soon as March 31, the source said.
Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing company, will buy and re-sell the phones as part of the program, the source added. Both Apple and Foxconn declined to comment.
"[The Trade-in program] has certainly been a driver for sales pickup," Recon Analytics LLC analyst Roger Entner told Bloomberg. Entner estimated that about 50% of the people buying iPhones in the U.S. during the final quarter of 2014 traded in their older phones.
Separately, almost a year after agreeing to pay $3 billion for Beats, the maker of hip headphones and a streaming music service, Apple is working with Beats engineers and executives to introduce its own subscription streaming service that could compete with current digital-music streaming services like Spotify, the New York Times reports.
Apple also announced that it acquired FoundationDB yesterday, a company that specializes in speedy, durable NoSQL databases.
The moves come as Cantor Fitzgerald increased its price target to $180 from $160, while maintaining its "buy" rating earlier this week.
"After five long years, Apple plans to enter a new product category with Apple Watch in April," analysts said, adding that their current model reflects Apple Watch units of 20.6 million in the first year on the market.
TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- Powered by its strong earnings growth of 47.72% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 68.00% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, AAPL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- APPLE INC has improved earnings per share by 47.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, APPLE INC increased its bottom line by earning $6.43 versus $5.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.63 versus $6.43).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Computers & Peripherals industry average. The net income increased by 37.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $13,072.00 million to $18,024.00 million.
- Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 31.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, APPLE INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report